Thursday, 13 June 2013

Our Prime Minister is

playing the gender card - and it does not become her.
She is not popular with the electorate - or with her own party. There are, as I have said, leadership rumblings even with an election date currently set at September 14th. 
But playing the gender card is a very different thing. This is the Prime Minister whose "misogyny" speech went viral. That it was actually taken out of context and made in support of someone whose behaviour was insupportable was beside the point for many people. Our Prime Minister was temporarily seen as a wonderful advocate for women everywhere - and still is by some.
There is a problem with this.  She is playing games. Her own record shows that she has not always been the great supporter of women she is now pretending to be. In the highly factional party she belongs to she chose to support a male candidate over a female candidate in the pre-selection shenanigans in a "safe" seat.  Her party has made life much more difficult for all single mothers and for carers - most of whom are female. I could go on. (And no, I am not suggesting the other parties are perfect - far from it.)
But our Prime Minister has been using the line that the Opposition Leader is "anti-female" for too long now. Apart from the fact that it is not true - he has a female deputy, a female chief of staff and other females surrounding him by his own choice - she is choosing to misrepresent something else.
Abortion in Australia is an issue largely for the states. They make most of the decisions in relation to abortion. Our federal government makes decisions about which drugs should come into the country. When the Opposition Leader was Health Minister in a previous government he did not, on advice from the authority that decides on whether drugs can be imported and used, allow the importation of an abortion drug. The advice was given to him on medical grounds. The drug was not considered "safe". His decision was made on that advice and on those grounds. It had nothing to do with his personal beliefs but our present Prime Minister continues to ignore that fact. She has used, and continues to use, it as a "fact" that he is opposed to a woman's right to choose. 
Now she is making blatant demands that women vote for her because she is a woman. "Women for Gillard" is even more offensive than her remarks about the Opposition leader. She is in effect telling half the voting population to ignore everything apart from the fact she is a woman and to vote for her on those grounds.
She is ignoring the fact that there are other women politicians (and their number is gradually increasing) and that not all of them are of the same political persuasion. (The leader of the Greens is a woman and we have had more than one female state Premier.) She is asking women to leave decision making at the door. 
Asking women to vote for her and her party on gender grounds actually demeans the men in her own party as well but she apparently does not see it this way. 
I do not intend to leave my critical faculties at the door of the polling booth. I will, as always, make my decision on the basis of policies about the things which matter to me.
I hope there are many other women who will do the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have some plans for election day, and they do not involve voting for anybody on the basis if their gender. A lot of other criteria will be ignored, but policy will not.